Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rocks and Sticks

There is a state question on the Oklahoma ballot that will require the state to spend the average amount that the area spends on each student per year for public education. In theory that sounds like a fabulous idea. "Of course schools need more money ... they tell us that all the time." However, in a state that is currently running a budget deficit (as are a lot of other states) there is no money in the coffers to fund this fabulous idea. So - if we make it law and there is no money to fund it, then where will the money come from?

Well it looks like it will come from other agencies in the state and very important programs will suffer. Medicaid benefits will have to be reduced along with school lunch programs, foster care payments, law enforcement, drug courts, etc. All because of some misguided belief that money somehow buys a better education. I know of a few kids who have come from privileged backgrounds and attended private school and sometimes I wonder how they manage to feed themselves. "What is this metal thingie with these pokie thingies at the end ... how do I get the food up to my face?"

I am a former teacher (one who would be a kick ass teacher now) who sat around on her butt all day long due to an addiction problem and nobody ever said a word about it. My classroom had the newest computers, a new grading system, a new projector. All of that meant nothing when the teacher didn't care about .... well .... anything. A good teacher can teach with a textbook, some paper, and a pencil. A GREAT TEACHER CAN TEACH WITH ROCKS AND STICKS. What is the point of having smartboards in every classroom if we continue to graduate kids who can't read and do basic math? Administrators have to get up off of their asses and actually spend time in the classroom. If a teacher is allowing time to be wasted by letting kids play on the computer, talk on their cell phones, and eating snacks then they need to either change or they need to go.

State question 744 will just pump money into a broken public education system that can't be fixed with money. It CAN be fixed by hiring and keeping teachers who actually care about what they are doing in the classroom. It CAN be fixed by parents who spend time with their children in the evenings instead of parking them in front of a television for hours on end. It CAN be fixed by communities who actually become involved with what is going on in the schools instead of turning a blind eye to the problems. It CAN be fixed by you .... and by me (without sacrificing other critical programs that work together to make this state a great place to live).


  1. I've always been astounded by schools who push kids through to the next grade when they don't really meet all the criteria.

  2. I agree 100%

    I come from both places private school and currently this year, public school albeit in the form of a charter school. Two charter schools to be exact.

    Both are in their first year. Both receive the same amount of funding. But both of them are approaching education from two very different vantage points. In my opinion, one is going to turn out children who are prepared to do just about anything the universe can throw at them and the other is going to continue to pass along kids that are really struggling.

    I don't want to post a novel here, perhaps this will require a blogpost of my own.

    And yes, my friend, you would be an amazing teacher this time around!